Endorsements: Lewis, Fagan for Bartlett Park District commissioner
Voters have a difficult choice in the race for two 6-year terms on the Bartlett Park Board.
Three good candidates are running -- Ted Lewis, a retired attorney who's something of an institution after having given 36 years to the park district as a dedicated commissioner; Adam Augustine, a relative newcomer to town whose occupation as director of communications for the Big Ten Conference seems to be the perfect experience to contribute to park district planning; and Jody Fagan, a coach in the park district who actively takes part in the community, whether it was when she participated in Elgin Area School District U-46's Citizens Advisory Council or as a regular attendee at the park board meetings.
They're running for two 6-year terms while Dale Ann Kasuba, appointed to a board vacancy last October, is running unopposed for a two-year term.
It's too bad all three for the six-year terms cannot get elected because all three strike us as excellent candidates.
Villa Olivia, which the park district acquired in 2010, is a focus in this race. Augustine and Fagan say the time has come for the sprawling amenity to pay for itself, and Lewis doesn't disagree, although he's less optimistic about quick fixes.
Augustine would focus on generating more revenue from the banquet facility since it's less vulnerable to poor weather. Fagan believes the solutions primarily lie in stronger marketing and a tough assessment of what needs to be done to make the facility competitive.
We think both of them are right, that the challenges demand a mixture of solutions.
As for our endorsements, one goes to Lewis, whose love of the parks and contributions to the district's growth and improvement over the years are beyond question.
The other goes to Fagan. Her background in the hospitality industry would be helpful to the park board. So would her systematic approach to solving problems. She gets the edge because of her history as a doer -- she gets involved, she attends park board meetings. All that no doubt would carry over to her service on the park board.
That said, it's hard to overlook Augustine. If he's not elected, we hope the park board keeps an eye on him -- and considers him for an appointment if a vacancy crops up on the board.